As the Christmas season gets closer and people’s anticipation grows, so does the number of holiday events.

It’s another busy week for cookie sales, concerts, plays, visits from Santa and more.

Here’s a round-up of 10 of those area events to help you plan your schedule:

Hometown Holiday Celebration

Numerous activities are part of Cedar Bluffs’ annual Hometown Holiday Celebration set for Friday at Cedar Bluffs Public Schools.

The music department will host a soup supper from 5-8 p.m. in the school’s lunch room. The cost for a bowl of soup is $3. Cookies will be sold for $5 per dozen at the cookie walk.

The elementary school Christmas programs are set for 6:30 p.m. (kindergarten through second grade) and 7:30 p.m. (third through fifth grade) in the gym.

Santa will be available for pictures from 5-8 p.m. A senior citizen craft and bake sale will be located in the south entrance of the school. Local crafters also will be selling their holiday items. The school’s winter book fair will be open from 5-8 p.m. in the library.

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company will present its 34th annual production of the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker,” at 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday at the Lied Center for Performing Art Center in Lincoln.

The production features nearly 200 student dancers from southeastern Nebraska in a performance that also includes a live orchestra and nationally known guest artists.

Tickets range from $29 to $49 for adults and $19 to $36 for students. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 402-472-4747 or online at www.liedcenter.org.

Ice skating

Outdoor ice skating rinks in Omaha and Lincoln will both open for the season on Friday.

The Capitol District Ice Rink, part of the Holiday Lights Festival in Omaha, will be open from 6-11 p.m. on Friday at 11th and Capitol streets. The ice rink – with a natural water-ice surface, will remain open through Jan. 21.

Admission with skate rental is $10, a portion of which will go to Food Bank for the Heartland. Conagra Brands Foundation will match all skate rental donations and additional funds up to $100,000.

The grand opening of The Railyard’s ice rink in Lincoln will be from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday. Opening night will feature a holiday fair and a special skating performance from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Admission is free. Skate rentals are $9 for adults 12 and over, and $6 for children.

Christmas celebration

The Omaha Symphony’s annual Christmas celebration begins Friday and continues through Dec. 16 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha.

Everyone is invited to celebrate the magic, romance and joy of the season as Broadway stars add to the lush sounds of the Omaha Symphony. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are available by phone at 402-345-0606 or online at www.ticketomaha.com.

Cookie walk

The 16th Annual Catholic Daughters Cookie Walk is set for 8 a.m. to noon Saturday in Delaney Hall in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 3400 E. 16th St., Fremont.

Admission is free to a fundraising event that benefits a variety of charitable causes.

Those who attend will be treated to a complimentary cup of coffee or apple cider and a sample of cookies. The cookies sell for $6 a pound and the candy for $8 a pound. Shoppers also may purchase smaller plates with three or four cookies and also plates and tins of cookies that can be given as gifts.

Giant snow globe

If you haven’t taken your family’s Christmas photo yet, you might want to visit Westroads Mall in Omaha this weekend.

A 10-foot snow globe will be set up from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday next to Flagship Commons in the mall. Visitors are encouraged to walk into the giant snow globe and get their photo taken with their loved ones. Admission is free.

Meet Santa

and Mrs. Claus

The Fremont Izaak Walton chapter will be hosting a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus from 1:30-3 p.m. Sunday at the park’s main lodge, 2560 W. Military Ave., in Fremont.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for pictures and will be handing out goody bags. Non-perishable food items will be collected for a local food bank.

Capitol tree lighting

A tree lighting ceremony will take place from 2-3 p.m. Sunday at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln. Doors to the capitol will open at 1:30 p.m.

Musical performances will be presented by the bell choir of Concordia University, the Waverly Singers and the All-City Girls Choir.

Gov. Pete Ricketts will give the annual holiday message and light the tree with the children in the audience. Admission is free.

Back to Bethlehem

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 1440 E. Military Ave. in Fremont will host its annual “Back to Bethlehem” event from 5-7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Those who attend can walk through a re-creation of the streets of Bethlehem, munch on treats, make crafts, pet live animals and post a prayer on a special tree.

Various groups will provide music and CDs of the Christmas story are available. The public is invited and admission is free.

Holiday open house

Methodist Fremont Health will host its annual holiday open house from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 13 at the medical center.

The event will feature a visit from Santa Claus and his reindeer. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

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Reporter/news assistant

Tammy Greunke is a native of Cedar Bluffs and reports on entertainment news, general news and sports.

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